Hair Canada wrote:I think we have to be realistic here. Yes, we have very nice players (who hopefully also show up this summer) and developing team spirit. Mainstream media will probably flaunt them and talk about a medal contender. But in my assessment, our chances of even reaching the quarterfinals and securing an Olympic berth are quite modest. How come?
In all likelihood, to do that we'll need to beat ALL of our games in the first two group stages, including against Lithuania, Australia, and (most likely) France. And that's a really tall order. Let's put Lithuania aside for a minute, as we don't really know how they will look like, though with their tradition, talent, and experience they can never be taken lightly.
Australia is potentially the second best team in this tournament (close call with Spain, France, and Serbia). This same team, without Simmons, was magnificent in the 2016 Olympics, destroying teams like France, Serbia, Lithuania, China, and Venezuela (yes, that team that beat us a year earlier), all by margins ranging from 15 to 25. They also managed to stay really close with the US (the only team to do that). Patty Mills was fantastic (more than 20 points a game if I remember correctly), but beyond him, they were just a great and well-balanced team. And just about everyone is coming back. Ingles, I think, is going to be perhaps the most important player on this team. He's a great 3-point shooter (I agree frumble that with him, Mills and Dellavedova they don't really have an outside shooting issue). And he has the "Steve Nash syndrome" -- the type of player that looks better in their 30s than they did throughout their 20s (Others players with that "syndrome" include Bareja, Rodman, and Lou Williams). Now add to the mix Simmons (who I think can actually look good in a team like this) and maybe also Maker for good measure.
If we somehow beat Senegal, Lithuania, and Australia (I think they'll come as the clear favorites), we'll also need to beat France to even have a realistic chance to make it to the QF. And that's another team that is no-less talented than Canada but has much more experience playing together and playing in these settings. So again, I would think they should be treated as the favorites in that potential future matchup. Put all of that together and I think a QF berth would be a very pleasant surprise but not getting there would certainly not be a catastrophe.
I'm sure we'll talk (much) more about it here, but my sense is that people in this forum are much more informed and realistic about where things stand and are not likely to be carried away by superficial enthusiastic analyses with slogans like "we have the most talent" or "we have the most NBA players of all countries".
I don't think you'll find much disagreement in this forum when it comes to Australia. And I think, at least the main Canadian bball media know this as well (Murphy, Grange, Smith). I liked our chances when I heard Simmons was likely not playing, now not so much. We won't be favorites versus Australia and most are aware how stacked the draw is against us (even to the point that if by some chance we make it to the 1/4 finals, then facing the U.S. is a 50/50 probability).
We should be looking closer at Lithuania and how we match up (without over looking Senegal of course). I post mostly about Australia because there is much more coverage (in English) about them. The look at France and not over look Germany (who has a good amount of NBA and EL talent as well).
I welcome Ucanwill and others who know the Lithuanian team best to keep providing their thoughts. Sabonis and Val will give them a huge foundation up front - but not sure if they can play together. Can their guards/wings manage Canadian/Aussie talent? Probably not, but they are great tactically and probably will do their best at slowing the game down to a crawl and grind out a possession by possession game - which is likely an Achilles heel for Canada (as Venezuela taught us).
Anyways I don't see our chances of just getting out of the pool as more than 55-65%.
France I think is vulnerable - and I have brighter prospects than Hair about beating them. We need to see their roster of course, but they have a recent history of underperforming. They tanked in in the last Olympics - and didn't look so strong in Manila. They didn't beat us that badly in Manila when we had what will likely be a much, much worse team. They were still led at the time by a continually deteriorating Tony Parker and a now retired Boris Diaw. Batum seems declining, Fournier is ok. Rudy Gobert often doesn't play. I am not sure what their star power will be (Parker still?), but yes they will be deep with NBA role players and good Euroleague players. We can't too be worried about guys like Ian Mahinmi, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Frank Ntilikina, Elie Okobo, and Guerschon Yabusele can we? Nando de Colo and Roddy Beaubois are probably better than this group. Right now I have no idea what kind of team they'll put together. I'll keep an eye out for news on France and Germany as well. Just heard Pau Gasol won't be playing.
Edit: Poking around on France it sounds Fournier wants to play. Golbert wants to play "if healhty" (but did play in last summer's Qualifiers). Frank Ntilikina says he wants to play. Batum says he wants to play. Diaws seem retired. Supposedly same with Parker.
Here is a good read on current Team France:https://www.sportingnews.com/us/fiba/news/france-has-a-level-of-uncertainty-at-the-fibawc-but-perhaps-also-the-greatest-potential-in-europe/14bjy5slsy2951c3mositfeoi8
The World Cup
Looking towards the WC finals, Rudy Gobert, Evan Fournier and Nicolas Batum will likely lead the roster, with strong support from Nando De Colo, Edwin Jackson, Louis Labeyrie and Andrew Albicy. There are fringe players that might offer more upside and a good level of talent, but the likes of good role players such as Mathias Lessort and the do-anything glue-guy that is Paul Lacome could provide stability and a lack of ego, which has ruined many deep teams in the past.